May 16: Tony, Grammy and Emmy Winning Alumnus André De Shields to Present NYU Gallatin Keynote Address at Commencement at Beacon Theatre

NYU Gallatin is thrilled to welcome alumnus André De Shields as the School’s keynote Alumni speaker on Tuesday, May 16th, 2023 at 1pm, taking place at New York’s historic Beacon Theatre. The graduation ceremony will be available via livestream, starting at 12:30 pm.

Mr. De Shields is a graduate of NYU Gallatin (GAL ’91) and recipient of the NYU university-wide Distinguished Alumni Award in 2022 for his achievements both as an artist and activist for people living with HIV and AIDS, as well as LGBTQ+ communities, and The Inaugural Gallatin Distinguished Alumni Award for Service to the School and Lifetime Achievement in the Arts.  A committed member of the School’s alumni community, Mr. De Shields has returned to Gallatin as a faculty member, offering courses including “Extreme Performance: From Ancient Africa to Postmodern America.”

In a career spanning fifty-five years, André De Shields, at age 77, has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, activist, educator and philanthropist. As an actor Mr. De Shields’ mission is to fill intimate spaces with enormous beauty. He defines intimate spaces as the hearts of humanity. As Activist he endeavors to restore majesty, elegance and literacy to the Black Thespian toolbox. His legendary career has resulted in a treasure trove of accolades, among them the upcoming 89th Drama League Award for Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater. His other marks of esteem include being the triple crown winner of the 2019 awards season, garnering Tony, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Grammy Awards for his universally acclaimed role as Hermes, messenger to the gods, in Hadestown, following with a paranormal portrayal as Ben Loman in Death of a Salesman. Perennially known for his idiosyncratic, show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions—The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award), Play On! and The Full Monty—Mr. De Shields has achieved the status of “Broadway Deity.” Additional information about Mr. De Shields is available at

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